May 23, 2017

Today the Connecticut House of Representatives took an important step in advancing legislation to further protect pregnant women in the workplace. H.B. 6668, An Act Concerning Pregnant Women in the Workplace, is a vital part of the economic stability of our state. We must do all we can to ensure continuity of employment for working mothers. Women can least afford to lose their job when pregnant, particularly for need of a short-term accommodation.

H.B. 6668 makes clear the types of accommodations usually required by pregnant women (including assistance with manual labor, more frequent or longer breaks, and temporary transfers to less strenuous or less hazardous work). The bill also protects women from being discriminated against when pregnant, including barring employers from forcing an employee to take an accommodation that she does not require while pregnant.

In Connecticut the median annual earnings of mothers are $23,000 below those of fathers. Mothers make just 70 cents on the dollar in comparison to fathers. Nationally, Black mothers are paid just 51 cents on the dollar, and Latina mothers 46 cents on the dollar, for every dollar made by white, non-Hispanic fathers. H.B. 6668 will help reduce these stark disparities.

This bill has been championed in the House of Representatives by strong pro-choice Democratic female legislators, most notably chair of the Insurance Committee, Rep. Robyn Porter, and Rep. Liz Linehan, along with their house colleagues Reps. Christine Conley, Kelly Luxenberg, Cristin McCarthy Vahey, and Caroline Simmons, along with Senator Mae. Flexer. The bill also attracted a total of 40 co-sponsors and received bipartisan support with a vote tally of 120 in favor to 30 against (42 Republicans voted in favor).

The debate showed, however, how some Republican representatives spoke about pregnant women as “bad actors,” and seemed to think that the ability of small businesses to discriminate against pregnant women is important for the economy of the state. Women who make complaints about employees already face heavy burdens to find justice, it is incredible that some of our state representatives question their motives.

Executive Director of NARAL Pro-Choice Connecticut, Sarah Croucher, said, “This is a vital piece of legislation for working mothers in Connecticut. A core element of reproductive rights is ensuring that women are able to continue their employment throughout their pregnancies, and that they do not face discrimination because of their pregnancy.”

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About NARAL Pro-Choice Connecticut, Inc. 
The legislative arm of NARAL works to pass pro-choice legislation and defend against anti-choice legislation at the State Capitol, believing strongly that all women have the right to access the full range of reproductive choices including preventing unintended pregnancy, bearing healthy children, and choosing legal abortion.

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